The Palestine News Network received the following statement from the Sumoud Political Prisoners Group Monday, reprinted in full below.

"Palestinian Legislative Council member and General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Ahmed Sa’adat, refused to recognize the legitimacy of an illegal hearing in Ofer Military Court on 28 March 2006.

"Sa’adat was kidnapped along with five other Palestinians following an Israeli siege of Jericho Prison on 14 March. As he was led shackled to the court room, Sa’adat raised his fists in the air and declared that he is a fighter against the Israeli occupation. His legal team asked for his release on the grounds that the court is illegitimate and that the trial is politically motivated.

"Sahar Francis, Saadat’s lawyer from Adameer Political Prisoners Association stated during a press conference in Ramallah on 28 March, ‘We consider the kidnapping of the Jericho Six – especially Ahmad Saadat – a violation of Palestinian sovereignty.’

"She added that according to official agreements the Palestinian Authority has full responsibility over its legal system and that the seizure of the six prisoners was tantamount to abduction. Francis expressed concern over the ‘non-visitation’ order issued by the Israeli authorities for three of the Jericho Six, particularly given Israel’s decades-long record of torture.

"In a letter to the Palestinian people from his cell in Moscobiyya Prison, Jerusalem, Sa’adat called on Palestinians to have no illusions in the US or British governments. Monitors from the US and Britain had deserted the Jericho Prison prior to the Israeli siege, thereby demonstrating their full knowledge and complicity in the kidnapping.

"Sa’adat stated, ‘The Quartet [US, EU, Russia and UN] provide a cover for occupation. What happened in Jericho Prison has made the British and US governments an integral part of the conflict and forever buried any illusions in their neutrality.’

"Sa’adat also condemned the Palestinian Authority for illegally holding them in Jericho Prison without due process and despite repeated calls for their release.

"Sa’adat stressed that he will not deal with the Israeli court or interrogators because he is a fighter for Palestinian rights and is not guilty of any crime.

"He asked supporters of the Palestinian people to stand in solidarity with their just struggle for liberation and self-determination, and demanded that the Arab regimes stop attempting to force the Palestinian people into submission.

"Sa’adat’s letter concluded, ‘I salute the Palestinian people and their struggle and have full confidence that this people will accomplish its goals of liberation … our life, work and struggle continues. Wherever I am I will continue to fight.’

"Sumoud Political Prisoners Group calls for the immediate release of the Jericho Six and joins in the international condemnation of the US and British governments for their full complicity in the kidnapping from Jericho Prison."